Marching into a New Era of VAPA


Ajinkya Rane

Baritone section leader Stephanie Tang plays a solo during the marching band performance of “Pure Imagination.”

Ajinkya Rane

Marching band delivered its first field show during the halftime of a football game against Northwood High on Sept. 29.

Musicians and guard members played, twirled and danced to the colorful score from “Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory, “Pure Imagination”. While the performance was shorter in length than a typical field show, saxophone section leader and sophomore Winston Yi said he felt it was a great display of the marching band’s skill.

“I’d say the performance was fairly successful, since this is especially our first time actually out on the field marching,” Yi said. “I was really proud of our musical ability as well. I think we played very well, and our marching band technique was very good as well.”

Although some members of marching band have performance experience, there are many sophomores and freshmen who are new to marching. They spent a mere few months on a field show that included advanced performance techniques such as individual solos from section leaders, about movements and creative shapes.

“Including band camp, we’ve been working on it for about two to three months now,” Yi said.”Band camp was really rigorous, because we usually woke up around eight or nine and continued until six.”

While marching band did have a nearly flawless performance, baritone section leader and sophomore Stephanie Tang said she felt they had a few technical areas of improvement.

“We could definitely use some work, and we could have clear lines of marching or better footwork or sounding larger, since we are so tiny,” Tang said.

In comparison to other Irvine schools which have an average of 120-270 members, Portola’s Marching Band of 62 members is quite small and inexperienced. However, VAPA chair and marching band director Desmond Stevens believes the quaint size of the band has its advantages.

“Part of the benefit of being a small sized group is we can clean a lot of things. When you have 270 people, there’s not enough staff to help clean marching technique and musical style to get a lot of variations on what we want…when we have a small group, we can be really clean and precise,” Stevens said.